WARNING: The following article contains major spoilers for director Francis Lawrence's Red Sparrow, in theaters now.
Francis Lawrence's Red Sparrow continues Hollywood's obsession with spy thrillers, this time focusing on a young Russian woman, Dominika Egorova (played by Jennifer Lawrence), who following an injury moves from a promising career as a ballerina to that of a deadly spy in order to carry out clandestine operations in the name of Russian patriotism.
Based on the 2013 novel of the same name by ex-CIA operative Jason Matthews, the movie has drawn comparisons to Marvel's Black Widow, especially due to Dominika's training and the way her spy school tries to turn her into a manipulative seductress and soldier. That said, this film, while not the most critically acclaimed, does provide a lot of political intrigue, espionage drama, and scenes of sex, blood and torture that'll leave you squirming. In order to survive, Dominika embarks on a well-choreographed journey that builds to an ending that highlights the guts it takes to be a double agent.
The movie begins with an injured Dominika being presented with an opportunity by her uncle Ivan (Matthias Schoenaerts) to become a spy. He blackmails her after incriminating her in a murder, so she has little choice but to enlist, especially if she wants to take care of her mother's medical bills. As she navigates spy school, her unconventional ways impress not just Ivan, but the headmistress known as the Matron (Charlotte Rampling), and her superior, General Vladimir (Jeremy Irons). Recognizing her talents but wary of her temperament, on Ivan's advice they send her undercover to find a mole known as "Marble" within the Russian camp, all so that Ivan can impress the big cheese and one of Russia's highest-ranking officers, Colonel Zacharov (Ciaran Hinds).
This leads Dominika to her American counterparts, namely CIA operative Nate Nash (Joel Edgerton), Marble's handler, and the only person he'll deal with. They of course fall in love, and Nash convinces Dominika to become a double agent and help the CIA. Despite the concerns of Nash's superiors, Dominika helps them intercept discs containing sensitive information about a U.S. defense program. However, she's compromised when her source at the U.S. embassy in Budapest (Mary Louise Parker) is made, which causes the Russians to take Dominika and the discs home, suspecting her of a double-cross.